Monday, January 19, 2009

Why Are So Many Libertarians Hypocrites When it Comes to NPR?

If the service pubcasting provided "was indeed so valuable that we, the American people, could not do without it," writes libertarian blogger J.J. Jackson, "they would not need to beg their government benefactors for a single dime. "
God I'm tired of hearing this same, tired, bullcrap argument from the right.

First, if "the American people" didn't want their tax dollars...a tiny percentage of them, I might add...going to fund public broadcasting, then they wouldn't scream and howl every time the right tries to slash funding for NPR and PBS. And the right tries it every other year (at least) and always gets the same results. What was that saying about insanity being defined as doing the same thing every time and expecting a different result?

Second, and more pertinent to Jackson's hypocrisy, is that the vast majority of NPR and PBS affiliate stations are non-commercial licenses. That means they cannot, by FCC law, sell advertising. They're restricted to what's called "underwriting", which is basically advertising but with very, very strict limitations on what can be said. Limitations that make it all but impossible to attract the most common advertisers you see on commercial radio and TV: car dealers, beer ads, etc. The advertisers willing to pay serious money for ad time.

If Jackson were really a libertarian, he'd be clamoring for the FCC to remove the underwriting restrictions from non-commercial radio and TV licenses....thus opening them up to the more lucrative advertisers, and allowing them to become more fiscally self-sustaining. Instead, he just doesn't like what NPR/PBS have to say, so he cloaks his indignation in a self-righteous spiel about wasted taxpayer money.

Of course, I personally would aghast if the FCC lifted those restrictions. One of the biggest reasons I like listening to, and working in, public radio is that there actually is almost a full hour of content for every hour...unlike commercial radio where there's 20 minutes (at least) of ads from every hour.

1 comment:

Mark said...

And not to mention Jackson's BS about non-coms not showing up in the Pittsburgh ratings. I'm sure someone would've explained to him that Arbitron doesn't include non-coms in diary ratings (they are in PPMs) and if he had gone to RRC's web site, he would've seen that WDUQ was good enough in the numbers to rate in the Top 15. Also, if he had read Tom Taylor's E-mail the other day, he would've seen that KUOW in Seattle and KOPB in Portland were the *top-rated* stations in their markets in the fall book--beating Rush Limbaugh's home in Seattle and the Christmas music station in Portland.

But of course, if Jackson really wanted this information, he would allow comments on his blog or include his E-mail. But he doesn't want to know anything--he's a wingnut moron.